The business plan is an essential component of normal due diligence. Never do a pitch without having a plan, because if investors like the pitch they will ask questions that you can`t answer without a real plan.
There are tons of good outlines available, plus books, blogs. Down below I have some specific resources related to my work; but not now. There is no single best outline to use, but investors will want to know about the market, potential growth, competition, differentiation (or secret sauce) strategy, tactics, key milestones, important assumptions, the management team, and financial projections including use of funds, projected sales, income, balance, and cash flow. Use your common sense to put first things first and organize it all well.
The pitch is a summary of the plan, organized according to highlights for investors, ideally a way to present your business in a structured way. The business plan is the bones of the pitch, like the screenplay, setting strategy, tactics, milestones, market, and essential numbers.
Do not misunderstand, these are important inclusions in your plan; however, during the early stages of drafting, it is important to create a broad vision that can be adapted once your specifics have been identified.
The best use of business plans starts with founders using plans to establish strategy, tactics, milestones, and (especially important) essential projections of sales, spending, headcount, startup costs, capital needs; it`s for the founders to know, first, what they plan to do.
Writing a business plan may seem like a big hurdle, but it doesn`t have to be. You know your business—you`re the expert on it. For that reason alone, writing a business plan and then leveraging your plan for growth won`t be nearly as challenging as you think.